Social media’s role in the black lives matter movement
June 4, 2020
There is an enormous difference in posting something on social media and actually standing by what you are advocating for. Are you spending the time to educate yourself on the cause, or are you simply reposting a trend? The black lives matter movement is something that needs to be talked about on social media. It is also something that people need to research and spend the time learning about the history of the movement. Reposting something on your story is not enough. It’s easy to post #blacklivesmatter on your social accounts, but it’s more important to truly understand why and what you are posting.
On a positive note, social media allows easy access to live media, tweets from representatives, and raw footage of what is occurring at the protests. It also makes it easier for different petitions, fundraising, and updates to spread to the public. At this time all of my social media accounts are being flooded with many different videos and posts involving the movement. It can be extremely overwhelming at times, but it is something of such major importance that deserves to control the internet until changes are made. Social media is hopefully an eye opener for people who are/were ignorant about all of the fear black Americans live in. On social media viewers can see all of the peaceful protest, rioting and looting, usage of tear gas, rubber bullets, and graphic brutality. Whatever perspective you might have, it is undeniable that social media has made a huge impact on informing the public.
On Tuesday, June 2nd many of my fellow peers participated in black out Tuesday. I also participated in the day by posting a black screen on Instagram and commenting #blackouttuesday to represent solidarity. However, there were many issues that came that day. Many people did not use the correct hashtag and instead used #blacklivesmatter or #blm which caused the hashtags to be flooded with black squares that were not informational. The black live matter hashtags are commonly used for people to stay updated on what is occurring with the movement, so when people used the incorrect hashtag it only made it harder to find information through Instagram.
Another problem with that “trend” on social media is that people saw it as an opportunity to stay silent. The purpose of the day was to bring more attention to the movement. Instead of posting valuable resources and continuing to research, many posted the black square and did not bother to stay active on Instagram. When only posting a black square on your Instagram, it does not help to inform anyone, so in order to correctly participate you had to do more than just that. Black out Tuesday could have been a great way to come together as one, but there were many people who did not fully understand the purpose of that day in order to actually make a difference.
I have also noticed that there is a drastic change in how many people view my Instagram stories. Since this is such a huge point in history, I feel like more people would be active on social media, but that does not seem like the case. My views have decreased by an insane amount which makes me wonder why. Are the people who typically view my stories uninterested in the lives of black people, are they using different platforms to educate themselves, are they overwhelmed, or are they racist. It really makes me question the people that follow me and who they are as people.
I have always been very supportive of other people’s opinions, but when people outwardly do not stand for BLM I completely change my view on them. With that being said, I have unfollowed a few people within these last few days because of their views. This should not be a controversial topic, but it has been. When someone outwardly posts on social media something that infers that they are racist or not for BLM, I immediately unfollow. I do not want to associate myself with anyone who does not advocate for the lives of others.
Social media has also been a great way for me to have open conversations with other people about the subject. I have talked to a few people that I do not typically talk to and have discussed where we stand. Even though opinions may differ on the way things should be handled, everyone I have talked to has shown their support. Social media was constructed to communicate with others, and I feel that during this time it has been a great outlet to discuss with others about what is going on.